PUNTA MITA, Mexico – It’s almost impossible to talk about Mexico without making mention of its diverse and vibrant food scene. Street food standbys like tacos al pastor, chilaquiles, and savory-sweet moles usually steal the spotlight. But on a recent trip to Punta Mita on the country’s west coast, I experienced seafood as the headliner.
Situated on a spear-shaped peninsula in rapidly developing Riviera Nayarit, Punta Mita is a haven for surf enthusiasts, a coveted address for second or third homeowners, and a destination for oceanic delights like spiny lobster, soft shell crab, and scallops aguachile, often coupled with native ingredients like guajillo and pasilla chilies and queso Oaxaca.
The tropical paradise, with its ocean views, peak warm weather, white-sand beaches, and roster of luxury resorts, is the epitome of lavish living. I usually stay at small, charming, boutique hotels, but for this trip, my boyfriend and I spent our nights at two of the most over-the-top places in town: Four Seasons Punta Mita Resortand The St. Regis Punta Mita. We were a bit hesitant: Would we get a true taste of Mexican seafood here?
A beach in Punta Mita.
In the world of farm-to-table dining, the purveyor is often crowned king, but not at Pacifico Beach Club, Punta Mita’s newest beach club, where property chef David Vidales takes sourcing seafood to the next level. We first met chef Vidales at the hotel’s Latin Grill, where we had a seafood feast on a first night in paradise. We had a spearfishing tour scheduled for later in the week and extended him an invitation, eager to witness his craft firsthand. He accepted.
We met at Playa Cuevas, just steps away from the Four Seasons, where Sebastian Melani, a renowned local spearfisherman, and his Spearmex crew were waiting to take us out to the depths of the Pacific. Before we boarded our small boat and set sail, we jumped in a four-foot pool for some practice.
Wearing wetsuits that resembled something from Wakanda, we practiced loading a speargun: Secure the spear into the shaft, wrap the shooting line, release the safety, extend the forearm, pull the trigger, launch the harpoon directly into the target. If it’s a hit, drop the gun immediately and reel in the line (and breathe!).
The author practicing spearfishing.
A Spearmex boat ready to set sail.